IVR phoneWhen I start talking about interactive voice response (IVR), the reaction generally goes one of two ways: 1)”Yes! IVR is awesome and the possibilities are endless!” or 2) “I’m not a fan. It’s too complicated and cumbersome.” If the latter, I usually ask for the naysayer to expand on their dislike. And what do I hear? Some variation of the following three concerns…that really shouldn’t even be concerns.

It’s Too Difficult/Time-Consuming to Set Up

A bad experience with an IVR provider might put a bad taste in your mouth about the technology, but don’t let it. One bad Pad Thai doesn’t ruin all Thai food, does it? No! Setup for IVR can be instant, depending on your provider. With a web-based IVR designer, you can create a sophisticated IVR application in minutes. Not days. Not weeks. Minutes. So before you write off IVR for this particular concern, be sure to ask your provider if their technology has instant capabilities.

I Don’t Want to Pay Someone to Configure It, and I’m Not a Programmer

Who told you that you need to be (or pay) a programmer to have a sophisticated interactive voice response system? Shame on them! No wonder you don’t like IVR. It doesn’t have to be this way. With a hosted IVR provider, the IVR is configured from an easy-to-use website. You set up your system using your very own human voice, enabling your customers to be delivered to the person they are calling for—no getting lost in phone trees. No programming. No configuration costs. Just you, your home system, and your shiny new IVR.

I Don’t Want My Customers Talking to a Robot

This is the craziest concern of all. Your customers don’t have to talk to a robot, silly! That’s one of the best parts about IVR—you can record your menu in your own voice so that your customers never deal with anyone other than you. It’s easy to setup an IVR: you can use your own phone to record the prompts, and customize the listening options. Your IVR, your way.

I find that a lot of misconceptions about IVR are based on the old-school systems: robotic dinosaurs that didn’t offer a lot in terms of flexibility and reporting. But those were the old days! Now you can get instant, personalized interactive voice response, plus real-time analytics and voice-to-text transcription features. Businesses are using IVR to generate leads, upsell and cross-sell new products, provide phone surveys, and more. Don’t believe me? Check out this white paper on IVR and leave your concerns behind.